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Post: New surname for divorced children?


German naming law is strict. Only one person in a marriage can have a double name, divorced children cannot change their names. Justice Minister Buschmann wants to change that.

According to the ideas of Federal Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann (FDP), Germans should have more freedom of decision when choosing surnames in the future. The FDP politician comments:

The current law is very restrictive, especially when it comes to double names.

Federal Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann

It’s time for married couples to be able to express their bond with a common couple name.

Double name planned for both spouses

So far this is not allowed. A spouse can add the other’s last name with a hyphen before or after their own. However, it is not possible for both Mr. Schmitz and Mrs. Müller to be named Müller-Schmitz after marriage and to pass that name on to their children.

Buschmann wants to introduce a bill for naming rights reform soon. The traffic light government made other changes to the coalition agreement that affected family life. These should come later, according to Buschmann. “The name right is the project we want to bring first in the law newspaper,” he told the German Press Agency. The preparatory work for this is quite advanced, “the most important questions have been clarified”. It plans to introduce a bill soon.

Although many surnames are derived from professions, there are also names from other origins:

Divorced children should also be allowed to change names.

Buschmann also thinks that there is an urgent need for action on the issue of divorced children. “It is now completely everyday for a parent to return to their premarital name after a divorce,” says the Minister of Justice. In such a case, it may also have something to do with changing the child’s surname – “the current law is not very suitable for this life situation,” says Buschmann, and promises: “The new naming law will make it easier here too.”

The Minister of Justice does not comment on detailed questions such as whether double names can be formed without the hyphen, which is still mandatory in the future. It just reveals this: For private name rights to be taken into account, members of the Sorbian minority should be allowed to have gender-adjusted surnames on the civil registry in the future. Especially it concerns the suffixes added to the surnames of women.

Buschmann wants to modernize family law

If the planned reform takes place without major disagreements, it should continue. At least Buschmann is optimistic. he says:

The reform of the name law would be the right start for the comprehensive modernization of family law.

Federal Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann

Because: “The diversity of family life has increased in recent years.” German family law sometimes lags behind. That’s why the traffic light government has implemented ambitious reforms in the areas of naming rights, genealogical rights, children’s rights and child support rights.

Deficiencies in family law – a case study:

The FDP caucus presented a draft for liberalization of naming rights in the previous legislature, which was met with broad support among experts – still in opposition at the time. The plan was not implemented at that time. The current project of the Department of Justice needs to be coordinated within the federal government, specifically with the Department of the Interior.

The Federal Minister of Justice also wants to legally support elective kinship:

Source: ZDF

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